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District to honor teachers of year

by Special to The Commercial | May 3, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.
Southwood Elementary School in the Pine Bluff School District is shown in this 2020 file photo. (Pine Bluff Commercial/Byron Tate)

Pine Bluff School District will honor six educators at the Teacher of the Year Gala at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the waterfront pavilion in Regional Park, according to a news release.

The educators will be honored as teachers of the year for their campuses with one overall district teacher of the year to be announced at the gala. The district teacher of the year is named in honor of Mary Frances Perkins, a longtime educator at Southeast Middle School.

The district Teacher of the Year will be named from one of the three finalists: Erica Phillips, Benjamin Davis, and Special Sanders. Finalists engaged in an intensive interview process designed to illuminate the final selection, according to the release.

The following are Teacher of the Year winners from their schools: Kierra Stinson (Forrest Park/Greenville Pre-K School) Erica Phillips (Broad-moor Elementary School) Natasha Jones (South-wood Elementary School) Shequil Jones (Thirt y - Fo u r t h E l e m e n t a r y School) Benjamin Davis (Jack Robey Junior High School) Special R. Sanders (Pine Bluff High School) “The Pine Bluff School District’s Teacher of the Year program is part of the Arkansas Teacher of Year (ATOY) program that honors representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms in Arkansas public schools,” according to the release. “The mission of the ATOY program is to promote the profession and recognize quality teachers who implement ‘best practices’ in Arkansas public school classrooms.” In honor of the event, Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington issued an official proclamation proclaiming May 6, 2021, as Pine Bluff School District’s Teachers of the Year Day, encouraging all residents to celebrate the contributions of these extraordinary people.

Teachers were nominated by their principals and colleagues and selected by secret ballots. Each school winner then completed an extensive application process.

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